In The News

Ocean acidification could desensitize shark noses

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology studying ocean acidification say that recent increases to ocean acidity may be robbing sharks of the sense of smell, according to TreeHugger . Sharks rely heavily on their noses to find food, so any sensory loss could have implications for their long-term survival rates. Scientists used dogfish sharks for the investigation, placing them into tanks filled with water that was carbon-treated to mimic ocean conditions expected by 2050 and 2100. In both tanks, researchers found that sharks’ smelling senses were impaired. Sharks in acidic waters ignored or completely avoided an introduced squid smell, scientists found. The exact opposite, meanwhile, was seen for a control group of sharks who underwent the same test in more basic waters.

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Hole in the ozone layer may be shrinking as regulations aid rebound

For the first time in decades, scientists have found that ozone concentrations in the atmosphere have gone up by a significant amount, according to NPR . NASA researchers made the discovery and say the giant hole in Earth’s ozone layer may be shrinking as a result. From 2000 to 2013, scientists say that ozone levels climbed by four percent in the mid-northern latitudes. That’s located about 30 miles up, at the upper edge of the stratosphere. An increase of ozone to the stratosphere is a considerable achievement for scientists who first noticed that CFCs were destroying the gas above Antarctica in the 1970s. And some say that steps taken in the 1980s, notably the Montreal Protocol which phased out CFC use, are finally yielding benefits today.

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In Sierra Nevada streams, researchers on the lookout for drought-threatened fish

In the parched hills of the Sierra Nevada, researchers are surveying drought-weakened streams to see what effects long-term dryness is having on fish populations in the region. Their findings so far have been less than stellar, with sparse numbers of fish being counted. Still, as data collection is progressing, the researchers, who work out of the University of California, Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences, are gathering insights that could aid in conservation efforts that are expected to grapple with coming climate changes. The purposes of the investigation are two-fold. “If we ever get rain again, we want to see how well these areas are recovering from drought,” said Rebecca Quinones, a postdoctoral researcher at the center and leader of the project.

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